It took me a while to get used to this little RX1. I am a viewfinder photographer and have been one for quite some time now (that would be since I started photographing as a kid). To change to an electronic viewfinder or looking like one of the millions of tourists in Cambodia frozen into a point and shoot position with squinting eyes was not so obvious.
Because let’s face it: NOTHING beats a good optical viewfinder in terms of clarity and with the possibility of seeing what is just outside the frame. But there are other reasons which might trigger the need for a change from an optical to another type of viewfinder. One of them being the money spent on a substantial investment in camera gear. As much as it made sense to drop a big chunk of dollars to buy an M6 which would last a few decades, as much is it rather foolish to spend an even bigger chunk of dollars on a bulkier and heavier digital viewfinder camera which sucks in dust and sticks it on the sensor, even if you never ever take the lens off, and which will be obsolete in only a couple of years. Being a bit foolish and without another full-frame viewfinder camera around I gave in and got me an M9 2 1/2 years ago, got used to some (not all) of its quirks, enjoyed the beautifull files (as long as I didn’t go over 800 ISO), and stayed well within the comfort zone of my framing habits.
And then it slowly seeped into my mind: the investment/value-over-time ratio simply doesn’t make sense with the current Leicas and in the current economical environment for photographers.
Along comes the Sony RX1… About half the price of a M9, but with a (very good) lens included. I’m not going to do gear talk, tell you about settings, analyse fringes, compare ISO’s… I’m going to show you photographs. Because that’s what a camera is there for. This being the season of the retrospectives like the 10 best books of the year or the 100 best photographs of the year, you’ll get to see what I think are the 47 best photographs I took with the Sony RX1 during 2013.
So… After one year of intermittent usage, does the RX1 fit my bill? According to the photographs I took with it it’s a 80% yes for me. The 20% that are missing are because of unlocked focuses, dead batteries, and my own fumbling… Overall I am getting the photographs that I want with this small tool. I even get a few I never could get with the Leica (like focusing at 30cm for example)…
What it boils down to is this: please Mr Sony, make me this exact same RX1 with the exact same full-frame sensor but with a weather sealed body, with a faster AF and better battery life and most importantly with a good optical viewfinder (ask your buddy Zeiss to help you out, they provide you with a magnificent 35mm lens already) in which I can see the basic settings of the camera and the AF area (have you seen the viewfinder of the Fuji X100S? I’m sure you have). If it is less than 2200$US I’ll buy one right way… It can even be a little bit bulkier and heavier to accomodate the optical viewfinder. I don’t mind… But please?
Here you go for the photographs. Forget they were taken with the RX1. Pretend they were taken with the M9. Do you see a difference with what I do otherwise?